Snack Peppers; I love these things, the kids eat them right in the garden while we work there. The seeds are harder to find than most peppers in local stores, and I refuse to pay $3.50 for a single growing plant at Lowes, etc and I want to grow my own. I forgot to get them last summer but this spring I went around and picked up many seeds from peppers left on plants last winter (from last year - when I did buy from a store 2 plants).

I planted them and out of 12 peat pots, I got 3 plants - great! I also bought seeds from ebay and planted them and nothing came out after 10 days or so. I replanted with a second batch of snack peppers seeds from a different supplier, one was US, one was a foreign country, but none of either batch has germinated so I held hope for the 3 plants from last year's peppers.

Then.... wham - they started wilting, now 2 are done for, one is wilted but the stem looks ok. I read up on them and have no moss, mold, flies, etc., but I suspect overwatering. I have plants in peat pots (discs that expand) so they are sterile, in a tray with water on a heating mat under a full spectrum grown light (led) also with another led Blue/red light.

Tomatoes, basil, squash, lettuce are all doing great but these snack peppers are dying. They sit in the same water as the other plants which are doing fine and I don't let them dry out, I keep them all moist. Do pepper plants have less resistance to overwatering? Everything else is fine. Do they require a dry out then water scenario? I admit, my bell, jalapeno, banana, chili peppers aren't thriving or doing well either.

Some of my seeds are 3 & 4 years old , some are those American no name type from dollar store for 20 cents (some of those work great) but in this post I want to concentrate on snack peppers though I'm sure solutions/causes probably apply to other peppers as well. Those red, yellow and orange walnut sized peppers are so sweet and I don't want to buy store grown plants.

update after reading several replies: Thanks for the feedback. To the fella mentioned what are 'snack' peppers, if you check EBAY for them/seeds, you'll see a bunch of sellers. I am getting a common theme here - I over watered. A bunch of other seedlings didn't do well suddenly as well, my lettuce all dropped and pretty much dies. Tomato's survived, cilantro did one of those long skinny stem thing, don't look good, thought about repotting// deeper in soil. My heat mat is a generic one, nothing fancy, I cant turn up the temp but I have a dome that I took off because I wanted the grow light to be closer to the seedlings, it's a 6" high clear dome, maybe put it back on to help trap the moisture/heat and reduce or eliminate standing water in tray.

Does the condensation on the inside of a dome affect the ability for the grow lamp to get light to the seedlings?

My wilting plants were put outside, dried out a little and within a day came back, even the surviving lettuce seedlings, however, the pepper (3) did not. Trying again with other seeds though its getting late to start from seed.

One last comment - to the question of what nutrients am I giving them, I had this organic plant food that ended up really stinking, like worm juice or something, rotting vegetation. I think I'll go back to a miracle grow type unless there is a better suggestion? I am using a miracle grow potting soil which I believe has some nutrients in it. Thanks.

  • What is the heat mat temperature? Optimum germination temperature for peppers is 85°F / 30°C. How large are the peat pots? Yes sounds like damping off but may be lack of nutrition? What are you feeding your seedlings? May 1, 2018 at 13:28

2 Answers 2


If all the types of peppers you're growing aren't doing well, that would suggest an environmental problem, and most likely the sitting in water business. It might be better to pot up the pepper plants into ordinary pots and water them when the surface of the soil is dry to the touch, but not so dry its shrunken from the sides of the pot - water thoroughly, and empty out any water in an outer tray or pot 30 minutes later.

As for your snack peppers, they do not always come true from seed anyway - depends whether the original plant was an F1 or other hybrid, which snack peppers likely are, and what pollinated the flowers on those plants you had last year - F1 hybrids are pure bred, and pollinated under controlled conditions, which guarantees the right variety in any seed produced, if it produces fertile seeds at all (some F1 plants don't).


I'm not sure exactly what you mean by snack peppers - small bells, perhaps? But there are a lot synonyms and local names (eg. the local grocers insist on using the word 'hatch' to describe anaheim types).

Peppers are relatively drought resistant but they do also need water. I wouldn't let them dry out. I've never managed to over water them but I've never had them sitting in water. I usually put them in pots or raised beds. They do like the sun. Some peppers do better in different climates but it sounds like you're growing a range of types.

Old seed will definitely affect germination. But once they've germinated and you've got some "adult" leaves this shouldn't be an issue.

"Wilt" could cover a wide range of causes including disease.

re. seeds vs plants. I usually buy seeds from a mail order supplier where there is more variety. Any surplus get given away. I then buy 2-4 plants from Lowes/etc to fill any gaps. Eg. this year I was trying "Flamingo" (a small bell described as "improved Gypsy") but they didn't germinate well so I bought a couple of Gypsy from Lowes.

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